Though possibly the least watched State of the Union address in two decades, millions of Americans still tuned in to watch their commander-in-chief’s seventh and final national update on Jan. 12.
Stephen Collinson, CNN Politics senior enterprise reporter, said President Barack Obama’s address was a “microcosm of his entire presidency.”
The following are responses before and after Obama’s State of the Union address from legislators who represent Chattanooga and and surrounding areas.
Before the 9 p.m. EST speech, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released the following statement:
While I know the tradition is that the president updates the American people each year in this way, I don’t read too much into these speeches. I attend these addresses out of respect, but I will be paying a lot closer attention to the actions that come afterwards. To really strengthen the state of our union, the president should use his final year in office to work with Congress on growing the economy, repairing our fiscal house, and confronting the threats we face both at home and abroad.
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following after the address:
Last year the Republican Senate majority made a real difference by passing several pieces of bipartisan legislation that will help American families, including the first major education reform since 2002 that fixes No Child Left Behind. This record shows that if President Obama focuses on what he agrees on with Congress instead of what we disagree on, there’s quite a bit we could get done in 2016. The president has plenty of opportunities to work with the Republican majority to get things done that the American people want done.
After the address, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) released the following statement:
Tonight I entered the House chamber hopeful that we would hear a real plan from the president on how we are going to protect our nation from the growing terrorist threat and finally jumpstart our stalled economy. Instead, the president used the opportunity to rationalize his failed economic and foreign policies and to divert attention away from the real issues facing our nation. It was made abundantly clear that the president’s primary objective in his final year in office will be defending his legacy. That legacy is a top-down, big-government approach that has given us the worst economic recovery in American history and stagnating middle class wages. The House is providing a different path, one that is driven from the bottom-up and will provide real opportunity and solutions by empowering the American people.
Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R-Tenn.) had this to say after the address:
Tonight’s address amounted to little more than the same empty rhetoric and broken promises that have come to define President Obama’s tenure in the White House. Rather than put forth a credible plan to restore our nation, the president chose to extol his legacy of pursuing a leftist agenda that has weakened our country both domestically and abroad. With the Obama administration coming to a conclusion, we must remain vigilant in preventing the White House from subsuming powers through the use of executive fiat that are expressly reserved for Congress. Whether it is gun control or immigration, any unilateral action violating our constitutional separation of powers must be met with stiff resistance in the House and Senate.